DOE Fellow Frances Zengotita successfully graduated with Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the FIU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry after completing a dual major in Chemistry and English. On the Commencement Ceremony, Frances was honored by FIU’s President Dr. Mark Rosenberg as a World’s Ahead Graduate. Dr. Rosenberg also recognized the FIU DOE Science and Technology Workforce Development program and DOE national labs. Since being admitting to the DOE Fellow Program in 2016, she was actively engaged on a project investigating the environmental chemistry of actinides and lanthanides under conditions relevant to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) for disposal of transuranic waste near Carlsbad, NM. Frances completed two summer internships (2017, 2018) at Los Alamos National Laboratory investigating the effect of microbes on the mobility of radionuclides in the WIPP environment. In summer of 2019, Frances was selected to participate in the Glenn T. Seaborg Institute at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory working on batch desorption experiments to better understand the desorption behavior of plutonium migration from estuary sediments in Ravenglass, UK. She receiving positive feedback on her performance and attitude from her LLNL mentors.

Frances presented her research at the 2018 WM Symposia student’s poster competition, FIU McNair Conference (receiving 3rd place for her poster), and 2018 ACS conference in Boston. In the 2018, Frances was awarded with the Innovations in Nuclear Technology R&D Award, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Nuclear Technology R&D. Her award-winning research paper “The Role of Chromohalobacter on Transport of Lanthanides and Cesium in the Dolomite Mineral System” was presented to Los Alamos National Laboratory in October 2017. The results of her research “Potential for transport of Cesium as a biocolloid in high ionic strength systems” were published in collaboration with LANL researchers in the Chemosphere Journal. She also recently received the Waste Management Symposia’s Roy G. Post Foundation scholarship to continue her graduate studies. In Fall of 2020 Frances plans to pursue her PhD.